Today, an unfinished experiment into ‘tranzending’ layers.
I dug out a piece of natural mixed media paper that had been coloured with some Distress Inks. My aim was to see if the white under pattern would work with such a piece of paper.
It did. You can see the underlying pattern coming through the more darkly coloured areas. Also, the Zig clean colour real brush pens (what a mouthful of a name!) worked beautifully on the background. I was careful to choose colours that would work sympathetically with the Distress Ink background. Distress Inks are water-reactive so any wet media will reactivate them
I haven’t finished colour this one; it was just an experiment. The final part of the experiment was to add a layer of Distress Micro-glaze. This seals in the art, making it waterproof and just about impossible to work on again. Why did I do this? Well, the micro glaze is a bit like a gloss varnish and it enhances the colours, making them more vibrant and more transparent too. I wanted to see if the glaze would move the black ink and/or the posca pen. It didn’t. Sure, there was some black pigment on the paper towel I used to polish the surface, but not much.
The microglaze is likely to be handy should I choose to decorate envelopes in the future. It may be useful in other ways.
There’s a constant spiralling round of techniques and media with me. And I usually end up returning to digital art in one way or another. What is interesting to me, though, is how these experiments give me ideas for things to try out digitally. My mind is ticking over those ideas at the moment and I’m likely to go and them out in a short while.
Today, I have a simple dangle design greeting card along with a coordinating envelope. If you’d like some more ideas, inspiration and step by step instructions for drawing dangle designs then my book, A Dangle A Day, is a good place to start.
Materials and dimensions
4″ x 4″ Strathmore Bristol paper with a vellum finish 5″ x 5″ acid-free white card blank White envelope that card will fit in Distress inks in Tea Dye and Rusty Hinge Small piece of foam and a mini foam blending tool A piece of card with a 1.5″ x 0.75″ window cut in it to use as a stencil. Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in F, S and XS Ruler and pencil Adhesive Glass pen and coppper ink by J Herbin
Making the card.
Use the card stencil and a small sponge dauber to apply a rectangle of Distress Ink in the top left of the 4″ x 4″ top layer. I used Tea Dye to colour the whole rectangle in, followed by a subtle gradient of Rusty Hinge from the bottom up.
Use a mini foam blending tool to add Tea Dye Distress ink to the edge of the top layer.
Use a pen to draw the rectangles around the colour block. I like to do this free-hand as it gives a more organic, human feel to the design.
Draw the sprigs and add the lines to the border. Dots help to add some interest to the more empty parts of the design.
Use a ruler and pencil to lightly draw a vertical line as a guide for the dangle. Also, draw pencil lines as guides for the position and size of the hand lettering. Sketch in the letters of the greeting.
Draw round and diamond shaped beads to form the dangle. I like to finish my dangles with a ‘heavier’ or larger bead.
Ink the letters in. I did some faux calligraphy where I made the down-strokes thicker. I added some lines and shading to the top line.
Carefully erase the pencil lines.
Attach the top layer to the card blank.
I used a glass pen and copper ink to add copper dots to highlight the dangle design and the hand lettering. I also drew a box just inside the top layer and another just outside it on the card blank. Again, I free-handed the lines, embracing the wobbliness.
Making the envelope
I used Tea Dye Distress Ink and a mini foam blending tool to edge both the front and back of the envelope.
I then used a sponge dauber and the card stencil to add a rectangle of Tea Dye ink in the top left.
I drew the design on the envelope as I had on the card, including adding a line border in copper ink.
Finally, I drew similar sprigs on the envelope flap, using the glass pen and copper ink.
Once I’ve addressed the envelope, I’d apply a thin layer of Distress MicroGlaze to the front and back of the envelope to protect the Distress Ink and drawing from the elements. I’ve done this to other cards and they have traversed the UK and US postal systems with no problems.
Ideas for using the design.
Although I’ve presented this dangle design as a greeting card, which is, I think, a lovely way to share a little bit of artistic loveliness with others, there are many other ways the design could be used, with or without any hand lettering.
In a BuJo, journal, planner or diary it would make a lovely little design to fill in a blank space.
This is a design that would work really well as a bookmark.
I’m sure it would look charming as part of a scrapbook spread.
I also think it would look lovely on a ‘with compliments’ slip or decorating the edge of a hand-written letter.
I’m sure there are many other ways and media that this design would be suited to.
I’m really enjoying drawing these kinds of dangle designs. They’re simple and elegant, to my mind anyway. They’re also quite easy to draw.
I do prefer to free-hand the lines and let the wobbliness be part of my signature style. It gives that human, hand-made, hand-crafted feel to the finished project, and a warmth to the finished project.
I work hard at finding a way of drawing digitally that lets me keep this uniquely ‘Angela’ way of expressing myself through line and pattern. I’m still working on it and sometimes get frustrated that, to my eye, my digital art seems too, well digitally perfect.
It’s all part of the process though – learning, developing, experimenting, trying out new ideas, techniques and methods. That’s what helps me grow as an artist.
I woke this morning and had a fancy to make a card along with a coordinating envelope. I’m going to be sending these to someone, so I didn’t want to show the whole design, so a sneak peek it is. I don’t think it gives much away about the mail art. I hope it doesn’t spoil the surprise for the recipient.
I used a pre-made card blank and envelope. The card is nearly 8½” x 4¼” in size and is plain white.
I cut a piece of Winsor and Newton Bristol board to 3½” x 7½”. I added some score lines ⅛” in from each edge and let them overlap to form little squares at the corners. To do this I used a score board and bone folder. I’ve never done this before, but it actually adds a nice touch. It also gives me an even border to work within, which is always useful.
My next step was to add colour to the top layer and the envelope. I decided to do some ink blending with Distress Inks. Here’s a list of the colours I used:
Once I was happy with the colour gradient, I broke out my Uniball Unpin pens and started to draw the design. As I had a coloured background, I made use of lines and patterns to add texture and dimension.
When I was happy with the design, it was missing something. It needed some colour or shading. I decided to add some colour with Copic markers, being mindful of using colours that would work harmoniously with the background.
My final step was to add some dots of gold glitter to add some ‘bling’ to the card.
My attention then turned to the envelope.
First, I added some pencil lines to help me keep my hand lettering level and neat. I then used a black Tombow Fudenosuke pen to brush letter the recipient’s name. I then used a grey Tombow Fudenosuke pen to add shadow to the letters.
I then used a Uniball Unipin 08 pen to add the address. For this, I used simple capital letters for the hand-lettering.
My next task was to draw the design on the envelope. I used some elements from the card for this, plus a couple of extra ones. I also added texture and shadow with lines.
My final task, after I’d written my name and address on the back of the envelope, was to seal the envelope art with a thin layer of Distress Micro Glaze, carefully avoiding the area where stamps will be affixed. The Micro Glaze creates a waterproof layer so the Distress and Tombow inks shouldn’t run if they get wet.
Once the recipient has the card, I’ll post a full image of the mail art, carefully obscuring their information.
So, Angela, how are you today?
I’m ok today. I’m a tad tired, but I don’t seem as emotionally fragile as I have been. There’s still a bit of ‘flatness’ or ‘heaviness’ inside me, but the contentedness is of equal or greater intensity.
Today I need a quiet day at home; the last week or so has been crazy busy with either emotional upsets occurring or commitments I have to keep. The next commitment I have is on Thursday evening, so I’m going to make the most of the time I have to myself. Creating mail art was one activity in self-soothing.
I doubted that I would find this more settled state any time soon. That it’s appeared today is a real bonus. How long it stays for I don’t know as I know what is in my diary.
I’m not going to worry about that, well not much. I’m going to enjoy the contentedness and Use my quiet time to soothe my still fragile emotions.
Yes, I feel mostly content, but I also know that it won’t take much to provoke me to tears and some emotional distress.
One thing we talked about in therapy on Monday was the need for me to protect myself in situations where I’m emotionally vulnerable. I’ve had a lot of time interacting with people over the past few days. I now need time to relax, breathe, re-energise.
I enjoy being with people, but it also drains me. That’s one of the consequences of being an introvert. When I’m socially exhausted, it makes me more emotionally vulnerable than I usually am. So, I need time to recover from this.
I will recover. Nowadays, I always do given enough self-care and self-soothing time.
I also am self-aware enough to know that to start important projects is not a good idea at this time. It becomes all too easy for me to find fault with everything I do and for me to end up spiralling downwards into a mood where I am harsh to myself.
It is still hard to be kind to myself on days like this. There’s a nagging voice that I should be doing this or doing that and not indulging myself in activities that help me to heal. Other inner critics join in, telling me I’m worthless, useless, a failure, unloveable then join in, sensing the vulnerability in me. So, I’m learning to ignore that voice, even if I still feel a little guilty. As I feel better, refreshed and re-energised and more emotionally resilient, the inner critics become inaudible once again.
So, as hard as it is to accept that I need to be kind and to spend today doing what will help me heal, this is precisely what I am going to do. And that starts with me writing a letter to accompany the mail art. I also want to create some designs that I can print to colour and use to create greeting cards.